Olympus (PINK:OCPNY) accused a former sales manager and ArthroCare of breaching non-compete provisions and interfering with a contract, alleging that ex-Olympus territory head Clayton Williard took confidential information along when he jumped ship for the same job with ArthroCare.
Olympus hired Williard from then-subsidiary Gyrus in February 2012 as ear, nose & throat territory manager for New Mexico, according to court documents. Williard resigned from Olympus May 12, effective May 23, saying he’d taken the same position at ArthroCare, according to the documents.
In doing so he violated the non-compete clause of his contract, despite his June 2013 testimony in another suit Olympus brought against Karl Storz Endoscopy, Olympus alleged.
"I can’t go to work for a company that sells competing products for a year after I – if I left [Olympus]," Williard said in the deposition, according to the documents. "To me it’s pretty straightforward. I don’t go to work for a competitor for a certain period of time after, you know, I leave Olympus. … I believe that my understanding [of the non-compete provision] was I wouldn’t be able to sell ear, nose & throat products."
When Olympus protested to ArthroCare, ArthroCare counsel said the company required Williard to sign a statement that he would not disclose any confidential or proprietary information obtained from Olympus and required Williard to forward any enquiries regarding competing products to his managers.
"Such a proposal is a sham and allows Mr. Williard to breach his agreement indiscriminately. For example, ArthroCare would like Olympus to simply ‘trust’ that it is only the physicians who are reaching out to buy competitive products, and that Mr. Williard is not in fact attempting to sell the several competitive offerings of ArthroCare," according to the lawsuit [emphasis theirs]. "If this were in fact true, there would be no need for Mr. Williard to be in the territory in the 1st instance, and someone else could simply serve as an ‘order taker.’"
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania, seeks a jury trial, an injunction barring Williard and "any person or entity working in concert with him" from selling ENT products in New Mexico for a year [emphasis theirs]. It also wants the court to order Williard to return any data and property allegedly taken from Olympus and to award compensatory & punitive damages, pre- & post-judgment interest, legal costs and disgorgement of wages, court records show.